What are the true applications of Kata? by Iain Abernethy
As someone who teaches courses on Kata applications, and as a writer of books and articles on the subject of bunkai, I’m often asked what is “the correct application” for various kata movements. The fact is that there is no single correct application for any movement! Master Itsou – who had a huge influence on the way that kata is now practised – once wrote, “There are many movements in karate. When you train you must try to understand the aim of the movement and its application. You have to take into account all possible meanings and applications of the move. Each move can have many applications.” I feel that it is very important that the individual discovers their own unique understanding and expression of kata applications. You should actively study the katas – as opposed to just practising them – and endeavour to come up with effective applications of your own. There are no right or wrong applications, only those that work and those that don’t! In this article, I’d like to cover some brief guidelines for kata-bunkai that should help you to extract effective applications from the katas for yourself.
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